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Old 14th March 2016, 12:57   #1
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Default What did Money give you?

So, let me pose you this question.

“Why do you travel?”

Or let me ask you, “Why did you buy that expensive camera, even though you knew you aren’t going to use it professionally?”

Or for that matter, “Why did you get a new car, even though you were getting a used car at half of the price of the new one?”

What extra do they give? And what extra did you get?

Team-BHP, being about cars, travels, photographs et al, those above questions are typical about our forum. But the bigger question, I tend to believe, is a lot more generic actually.

Why does man indulge in such purposes or activities from which he seems to get nothing concrete in return? A return that cannot be qualified as a tangible product or a service that cannot monetarily measured.

Now, I am not talking about spending money for tuition fees for the child or his vaccinations or the daily bazaar or paying the servants salary. No, don't get me wrong. These are certain things which you *need* to do to sustain yourself in a civil, social society. Neither am I talking about heartwarming purchases which have an outright return - the “Good EMIs” so to speak like purchasing a house for example or investing in a mutual fund.

Someone was arguing the other day:

In today's society, an upper middle class man earns an average of a lac a month. But can save only 1000 at the end of the month due to
  • His/her ever growing EMIs
  • Standard of living
  • Previous luxuries that has become essentials today

Whereas a rickshaw puller in Calcutta typically earns 10000 a month, and even he saves 1000 at the end of the month.

The question that he posed was: Who is richer amongst the two?

Well, this guy who made the statement made an excellent observation. And he even went on to conclude that the rickshaw puller was the richer man because of his high percentage of savings.

But what he did miss was the "quality of life" - the various intangibles which money can’t measure. The richer man could have sent his son/daughter to a government school, but he didn’t do that.
And so, I return to the question that I asked previously. It is the cause of larger concern. Why does man indulge in such purposes or activities from which he seems to get nothing concrete in return?

So, my counter question to is - What are you looking for a return?
  • What do you expect from a travel?
  • Or from the photos of a high end camera?
  • Or the earth shattering acceleration of a highway cruiser motorcycle?
  • Or an extra few months of life of a loved one?

"In the end, it is about money.", I know you are going to argue. And that is what pisses me off. Money. The prospect of an almost zero bank balance doesn’t make anyone happy. It, in fact, makes most people feel miserable. In fact a thick wad of cash, without a shred of doubt, gives peace and sanctity. But, we are thinking beyond that.

For, there are certain things which money cannot buy. Money is something which you can invest and grow. But even if you had enough money you know that you cannot buy a lot of things with money. You cannot go to a store and say, "Give me X amount of Joy. I am paying you Y amount of money". And I am glad that you still cant.

On a moving motorcycle, I smile like a child inside even when the sun is parching my skin or the rain is washing me down. And there is a happiness I feel when those distant, shimmering lights create a perfect bouquet behind the portrait. Money cannot buy joy, happiness, relationships. I know it sounds cliche, but they really mean a lot to us.

Before I close down this rant, here is a last one.
A longtime back, when someone asked George Mallory, "Why do you want to climb Everest?"

He replied,
"It is of no use. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron... If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.
I hope you get the drift. Money is not the point. It never was.

Last edited by sayakc : 14th March 2016 at 13:19.
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Old 16th March 2016, 08:17   #2
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Shifting Gears. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th March 2016, 08:48   #3
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Money is merely a facilitator to things or experiences that one wants or needs. It can never be an end in itself.
The greatest Gift is that of "contentment" but this is way easier said than done...
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:00   #4
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
Money is not the point. It never was.

Very profound statements there!

People tend to believe that more money makes them happy when infact it is a vicious cycle. More money comes at the cost of time and relationships which leaves you with little time to enjoy the fruits of labour.

Believe it is Material things vs Experiences. Nothing beats Inner Peace (as in Kungfu Panda)!

Last edited by JayKis : 16th March 2016 at 09:02.
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:04   #5
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
So, let me pose you this question.
I hope you get the drift. Money is not the point. It never was.
Money is an added instrument to achieve greater joy in your own specific sense. Having said that, money is not everything. A person on a Vespa enjoys the breeze as much as one on a Harley Davidson. The latter had the means to buy one and did so, period. As long as both are enjoying it is good.

My daughter while having a discussion on an impending trip to various countries remarked "Dad, the balance which you leave in your bank when you konk off is directly proportional to the amount of fun you could have in your life so use every penny of your hard earned money and enjoy life to the fullest". Profound from a kid and that is what has been the mantra after that.

Yes, money cant buy you the pleasure you get from an emotional connect but it does ease your path towards it.
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:16   #6
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

It is a direct off shoot of the material lives that we lead now a days. The 'things' give you instant gratification, a moment or more of happiness that you want to stay but it never does. I moved to Melbourne a year ago and live in a nice house, drive a much nicer car, use a much nicer phone and eat out whenever I want to but I am still not 'happy' or 'content'. Money can buy everything but even having everything will not make you happy or content with life.
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:52   #7
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

What a coincidence! Here I am thinking about the same thing ever since I got my new seat covers done, purchased new tyres and was planning to acquire the KTM tourer once its out. Some times as you said, that feeling of zero bank balance is so utterly gut wrenching and makes us feel pathetic and power less inside, but at the same time there is this other voice in your head that tells you, "meh, this amount of money wont matter 20 years down the line, who knows when I might die" ... The key is to not worry about tomorrow or forever like most idiotic insurance ads propagate. Think about the present, work on self improvement and experience what ever that mind feels you should take a shot at. After all, we live once and most of us would barely make it past 60 in today's horribly polluted, super-bugs infested world! Not that this will make you stop thinking about that credit card bill and EMI and what not. Just go light on the brain and save your sorrows for things far worse than money.
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Old 16th March 2016, 09:59   #8
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

The 'utilitarian' aspect of money is quite limited. It will vary from who and what you are. For example a multi billionaire might find utility for the first few millions for the kind of lifestyle he lives but beyond that the utility value of money ceases and it is a mere number (i am also including a reasonable saving for the 'rainy days' in this)

Similarly for someone earning 5 lakhs per month, may have value for the first few lakhs

For somebody earning 50k or 70k/month the utilitarian value might extend to his entire earnings.

For me the question begins where the utilitarian value ends, so what drives people to earn more than the utilitarian value (whatever that is for the individual) by sacrificing other things which one might want to do. To me it is mainly

1) Paranoia (what happens if lose everything so i will try to accumulate more)
2) Natural outcome of one trying to do better in one's vocation. Money as an outcome and not necessarily the target
3) Money itself becoming the objective (amassing wealth becomes their passion, hobby whatever one wants to call it).

If you think about the the person who earns more than his utilitarian value and still prefers to work on holidays (for the extra money) rather than go on a trip (which he wants to do) is doing so because he has made a conscious decision so and eventually decided to prioritise the extra money over the fun of the trip.

My point is that everyone does it for different reasons and it should be considered ok as long as it is through legitimate means
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Old 16th March 2016, 10:31   #9
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

This topic touches sentimental and philosophical aspects.
Money is not and cannot be everything and we should understand that. We do not carry our money to our graves.
Coming to buying a new car versus a used car, it's not the bling factor that should be the reason. There may be situations when you want the peace of mind that you can get by buying a new car instead of a used one, in which case it is not the usual mind vs heart debate
Sometimes, it is a past bad or not-so-good experience with a used car that makes you think of buying a new car.

Also, these days getting a loan is far easier than it was a decade or two ago. Does this mean you will go in for a huge loan and buy a luxury car ? Hell no, you may be able to finance it and get it but there are operational costs, will you be able to take care of that ?

Yes, there are people who can afford it and it sometimes becomes a matter of prestige for them to have those marquee expensive cars.
You know the value of money only if you've worked hard and earned it in which case one will not be the splurging type.
At the same time, there are those small things that give you joy in buying for yourself or for someone else. This may come from the fact that you were not privileged to have those 'luxuries' yourself but you can afford and want to for your children.
You can always buy a cheaper car, take a cheaper vacation, etc. There are options available, choices and decisions to be made based on your priorities. Think before you leap

Knowing the value of money, spending right and knowing when and where to draw a line is very important.

Last edited by NPV : 16th March 2016 at 10:39.
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Old 16th March 2016, 11:17   #10
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Very interesting thread, thank you.

Of course money isn't everything and having a lot of money doesn't necessarily make you a better person or let you live a more meaningfull and or fulfilling live (whatever that is).

Money cant buy happiness, but in many parts of the world, money can 'buy' you access to better medical care, better education etc. The very fact that we can have this discussion on an internet forum separates us from hundreds of millions of people worldwide who don't have the means to get onto the internet.

I dont agree that you don't get anything concrete back from buying materials things such as a new car or a new camera.

Personally I indulge in many purchases of this nature. I never buy new cars, but I do buy and own lots of second hand ones. Photography is a big hobby of mine. So I do buy all sorts of kit. I like watches and have quite a collection. My wife and I travel extensively all over India and all over the world.

And I could go on for quite a bit more. I bought a new camera (Olympus Pen F) the other day. Spur of the moment decision, I just happened to walk into an excellent camera shop, I had heard about this (new) camera, they stocked it and had a very good salesman. It has given me many, many hours of intense pleasure, fiddling with it, reading the manual, going online to read more about the camera. I have hooked up with some folks on Facebook and we have met face to face to discuss and share experience. I'm going on a new photography course etc.

So I'm really enjoying this one particular purchase and I could give you a similar story for my other indulgences as well. Are they necessary purchases? No of course not, I can live my life without them.

And I do realize I am in a very fortunate position to indulge myself in such hobbies and interests.

I have said it many times on this forum; we should not judge decisions or spending criteria of others. If somebody wants to buy a BMW to impress his/her neighbour and that is relevant to him/her, by all means go for it. I get my joy, fulfilment, happiness from different things, but that doesnt mean mine is better or worse then somebody else.

But I will admit a fair amount of my happiness, joy, fulfilment does comes through this "indulging in material things," i.e. spending money.

You talk about

Neither am I talking about heart warming purchases which have an outright return - the “Good EMIs” so to speak like purchasing a house for example or investing in a mutual fund
But in all honesty not everybody might agree with you that these would qualify as heart-warming or good. I know plenty of people who for a variety of reasons don't want to own a house or dont want to invest in a mutual fund.

In the end all of this is in the eye of the beholder. Everybody needs to lead their lives as they feel fit and seek their own fulfilment, happiness, use-fullness whatever. It's about the firm believe that individuals have the right to make their own choices in life. Other cant make those choices for them, nor should they qualify the other persons choices in good/bad, relevant, etc.

Happiness is not an absolute term, especially in relation to what causes one to be happy. My wife and me were very happy to get a call from our daughter the other day that she found her first job. We were thrilled to hear from our son that his visit to the doctor meant an all clear. And as I stated I'm very happy with my impulse indulgence into buying (another) camera. But none of these three experiences are interchangeable. I'm just happy and consider myself extremely fortunate with all three.

I am a firm believer that money doesn't bring happiness perse, but lack of money, real financial worries are known to be a huge stress factor on just about any individual in any society. When you can't afford the rent, you have a real problem! When you can't buy food, or medicines for you child again you have real problems.

When you have sufficient financial leeway to take care of the basics (food, health, shelter, education) why not indulgence in a few other things?

So money does allows a person to expand on his or her own personal preference and options and therefore allows for more personal freedom.

Money might not be the point, but a lack of money certainly is an issue. We can debate about what qualifies as a 'lack of money' of course. But in general, I am extremely fortunate to have sufficient financial means (at present at least) to provide for my family, support some friends financially and indulge myself with all sorts of purchases hundreds of millions of people can only be dreaming of.


Last edited by Jeroen : 16th March 2016 at 11:22.
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Old 16th March 2016, 12:37   #11
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

I came across this WhatsApp forward a couple of weeks back. I think it makes a lot of sense. I am at such a stage in my life where I am suddenly starting to realise this.

Attached Images
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Old 16th March 2016, 12:58   #12
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

I would like to post two pics which we all come across regularly at some point of time.
Name:  img1.jpg
Views: 9780
Size:  7.8 KBName:  fightclub.jpg
Views: 10133
Size:  14.4 KB

At the same time it is a well known fact that Money gives us SENSE OF SECURITY.

From my personal experience I can say that the only thing I ever got from money is sense of security and slight feel of power or confidence to do things which I see many people around me can't.

I am definitely not of that type who buy things but not use them as intended except for exercising items like bicycle but I really don't get any kick from buying high end things if I am certain that I am not going to use them.
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Old 16th March 2016, 13:15   #13
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

A very interesting thread. Thanks for bringing it up.

Money is supposed to be a tool for use by humans. But it is going around the other way around.
The reason for that is the economics of wealth in the world want to keep it that way.
The economics is so deeply sown into the common man's lives that for us it is like the air we breath.

I am no illuminati or conspiracy theory advocate.

For instance have a look at how the world has changed from 70s.
Technology has grown many times over and it is supposed to make human life easier.
But we channel the best minds in the world to Finance, not to useful things like health care or alternative energy.
Most of us are in the business of making rich get richer. We also hope to become rich one day. Will never get there though.
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Old 16th March 2016, 13:16   #14
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Actually money is a means to an end. Everyone wants to be contented in life with ultimate goal of attaining the state of nirvana. Money is often considered one of the means to attain this end goal. As it turns out this is not really the correct means. Treating money as the means to this goal is akin to treating the symptoms rather than the actual malady.

Often we look at all the worldly riches and wonder how nice it would be if I could... (you put in what you like). The problem is whatever you put in will get erased off as soon as you get that. You will now have a new thing to hanker for. And the contentment level will be again back to zero. This is an unending cycle of our social life. And in this never ending cycle of chasing the worldly goodies we keep compromising with ourselves again and again at increasing frequencies to attain the next figment of "contentment".

So? Is chasing money wrong? I don't think so. Just that we need to set our priorities right. As long as we agree that actually I am not looking for contentment through money it is good enough to put that as our objective goal if that's what we want to do. Because to attain inner peace with oneself and attain the ultimate contentment we need to follow a different tack that we can't do so unless that comes from inside.

Till then, happy money chasing to all! May you get your Ferrari soon.

Last edited by Zappo : 16th March 2016 at 13:17.
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Old 16th March 2016, 13:34   #15
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Default Re: What did Money give you?

Happiness is a 'feeling' that you don't realise you are experiencing when you are happy. You are too busy enjoying the moment. And happiness is not something that one can look for or obtain through toil / money. In fact happiness is often realised through nostalgia.

Money may not be able to buy happiness...but neither can happiness buy money ! Old jungle saying !
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